in Würzburg, Germany, November 15, 2008

Time again for another Keep It True (KIT) festival. This time, and for the last time, Keep It True lasted only one day. The organizers announced recently that they would concentrate on organizing only one festival per year, but that it would always last two days.

But the final concert of its kind was in a new hall. The Posthalle in Würzburg proved to be a good location as it was large and left enough room in the back for a Metal market and a food zone. The hall also had one drawback… there was no parking lot close to the hall, so one had to walk a bit which was okay as the weather was nice, but on rainy days many people will curse the Posthalle for that. The hall had no windows, so in contrast to the normal Keep It True Location, even the early bands could use the lights.


That was nice as the Japanese opening act Hellhound started the night at noon. L It immediately felt like a concert, and one could forget what time of the day it was. The Thrash and Speed Metal from the land of the rising sun was the right stuff to get everybody going. The band fulfilled every cliché, and song titles like “Metal Fire From Hell “or “Heavy Metal Highway” leave no doubt what’s on the musician’s minds.

It is a funny band anyway as from the 18 songs on their two studio releases, no less than 10 carry the word Metal in their name. A perfect opening act for a True Metal festival.

Cast Iron

Next up was Cast Iron from Finland. L Admittingly, the band was hardly known to most as they only released one EP in 2008 called “Leather And Metal”. They played traditional Metal which reminded of northern German rockers Running Wild to no small amount. The question was, with what would Cast Iron fill the 45 minutes playing time if they only released 20 minutes of music on their EP? Simple: The Preacher came. Of course, it was Gerald Warnecke alias Preacher who was a member of Running Wild from 1982 to 1985, who helped the band and performed the classics “Ghengis Khan” and “Victim Of States Power” instead of the Cast Iron guitar player. Overall, the band was young and made a very inexperienced impression. But since every band has to start one day, Cast Iron managed and can look back on an early highlight in their career.


Now it was time for some great Power Metal. L Timelord from the USA entered the stage and continued the tradition of giving new, young bands a forum at KIT. Timelord released only one album via Shrapnel records so far and were almost completely unknown to most. Maybe that was an advantage as their slightly progressive, often fast Power Metal style fit well with the audience. Maybe except for the strange cap the singer wore, which was definitely not Metal. And one other flaw was obvious… the band did not hand in any CDs to the merchandise stand. Many fans were disappointed. When exiting the stage the band announced that they had CDs available and that one should ‘find them’, but it seems not too many did as the band was not seen wandering the hall too much. Still, definitely a winner and now probably a band many will keep in mind.

Faith Factor

Does anybody remember the band Deadly Blessing? L That was a mid Eighties’ underground Thrash band that only released one studio album which has a good reputation among Metal fans. What does it have to do with Faith Factor? Well, singer Norm Kiersznowski better known as “Ski”, founded Faith Factor because he had a calling. After becoming a Christian, he formed a different band with new musicians and plays White Power Metal now. At first, that was difficult to believe as he did not look religious at all, but very “Metal”. Clad in black leather and a lot of metal, including a big crucifix, he made Rob Halford’s early eighties’ appearance pale in comparison. Fortunately, it was not all appearance, but Faith Factor were one of the best bands this day. The songs were just great Metal, straight, powerful, with strong vocals and a good show. Although the joke with a giant black wig was lost for most people in the audience – he looked like the product of a hot night between Rob Halford and Dee Snider, both in full gear – the posing and playing with clichés was very entertaining and dominated the stage. The Christian message was much clearer later, when Ski took off his leather jacket and revealed a red t-shirt saying “He Died 4 Me”. If one is religious or not, due to the fact that the band did not come across too preachy paired with excellent songwriting fit for this festival, one must compliment Faith Factor for a tight and convincing 45 minute show which many will remember for some time. The final accolade for the new band was their last song, when they played an old Deadly Blessing track, “Deliver Us From Evil”, to the delight of their fans. But everybody agreed afterwards that the new songs are so much better than Deadly Blessing!


Danish cult Metal band Evil can look back on only one official EP release, plus five more songs released on a live video tape in 1985. L It is remarkable how the guys behind Keep It True manage to dig up bands that are not only dead for so long that their status is better described as decomposed, but that have an enthusiastic but very small crowd of followers. In the case of Evil it would probably better have stayed dead as the songs were nothing spectacular and the show from most musicians hardly existing. except for the singer who was embarrassing. Not only did he look everything but Metal, and his voice was definitely on the low end of the spectrum compared to many great singers he shared the stage with on this festival, but in contrast to the bass player who seemed to have jumped directly from 1985 into the present, his show which consisted mostly of arrhythmic, nonfitting jumps and moves which was funny to see for a while, only induced a “let’s get this over with” feeling. Still not a total loss, but compared to Faith Factor before them, and what would come after them it was one of the weaker bands that day.


LThe stage remained in Danish hands, though. The reformed Artillery who have been a leading force in the Thrash scene of Denmark since the end of the Eighties were a welcome change. With their four releases the band had enough material to fill the 60 minutes they were allowed to play. Songs from the first two albums were greeted with enthusiasm, and the twin guitar wall the band created was massive. The only downer was the fact that original singer Flemming Rönsdorf did not join the posse. The band has reformed in 2007 with the core of the two Stützer-brothers on guitars intact, but without the original and unique voice of Rönsdorf. Still, even without the voice songs like “Terror Squad” or “Khomaniac” did not fail to make the crowd move. After a satisfying Thrash attack the five Danes left a sweaty crowd with a smile on their faces.

Tokyo Blade

LThe change in styles could not have been more drastic as now the New Wave of British Heavy Metal section started with Tokyo Blade. A highly underrated band was on the brink of international success but never really made it. Their discography looks extremely irratic with songs appearing on and off the same album in different territories, and they suffered from line up changes especially behind the microphone. But on this night, that was all forgotten, as the band began with the first note to make this a real “Night Of The Blade”. With a lot of fun and many melodic uptempo tracks a large share of the crowd who did not know the band before turned around after the gig to visit the Metal market and try to find some albums of this NWoBHM legend, still having songs like “Lightning Strikes”, Midnight Rendezvous”, “Attack Attack”, “Night Of The Blade” and the mighty “If Heaven Is Hell” in their ears. Who cares that with Andy Boulton only one original band member is still present?


LThe second half of the Old England’s band resurrection consisted of Girlschool, a band that goes back much further than the NWoBHM. Having been quite successful between 1978 and 1983, commercial disappointments and line up changes did not make them falter, but remain active as the longest running girl Rock band. Their simple, but effective straight Metal and Punk brew was fun even for those who were not familiar with the band. Hits like “C’mon Let’s Go”, “Hit And Run” and “Screaming Blue Murder” never miss, and with “I Spy” a new song was presented which was recorded with Ronnie James Dio on the forthcoming new album. While it was not spectacular, Girlschool was great – as always.

Nasty Savage

After a rather disappointing gig at the Bang Your Head festival, Nasty Savage was greeted with mixed feelings. Of course, one hoped for a better performance today, and in the light of so many true Thrash classics, the band had everything to gain, but that had been true at Bang Your Head as well. Nasty Savage unfortunately proved the sceptics right. Although the setlist was exactly what the crowd was longing for, singer Nasty Ronnie was not at the top of his abilities. The higher notes of the early tracks were almost impossible to manage for him, so the unique singer became the Achilles’ heel for the band. The band started with a duo from their debut album, “No Sympathy” and “Gladiator”, and during the course of the set played the old Wage Of Mayhem demo in its entirety, but still the weak vocal performance dragged everything down. Even the obligatory smashing of a TV set only produce smiles instead of cheers.

Setlist: No Sympathy * Gladiator * Witches Sabbath * Unchained Angel * Psycho Psycho * Savage Desire * Hypnotic Trance * Stabbed In The Back * The Morgue * Metal Knights * Dungeon Of Pleasure * You Snooze You Lose * XXX

Flotsam And Jetsam

Now it was time for the headlining band, one that dominated the billing much more than headliners on the former festivals had done: Flotsam And Jetsam. L Their career was a rollercoaster ride, and often their artistic musical developments did not lead to large sales figures, although albums like Cuatro, Drift and My God are nothing less than great.

With their last album the band tried to return to their roots and played Thrash, but they could not recreate the classic feeling. So the announcement before the festival that this would be a special old school show excited the fans. They would not perform an album in its entirety, which has become a fashion lately, but would not play anything that is not over 15 years old. And so they started with a song from their debut album, and probably to avoid constant requests for the track during their show, they started with the riff monster track “Doomsday For The Deceiver”.

There was no holding back as the band played tight and skilful and visibly enjoyed the gig in front of a crowd which is quite unusual in size even after more than two decades of existence of Flotsam And Jetsam. Earlier this year the band had played Frankfurt, Germany, in a small club for less than 100 people. But that was forgotten, as this was different. “No Place For Disgrace” and “The Master Sleeps” kept the energy level up, before the band returned to their second album which made up the major part of the setlist with 6 out of 13 songs. Only interrupted by a snotty cover version of Lard’s “Fuck Boy” the band fired “Hard On You”, “NE Terror” and “”Escape From Within” into the crowd.

L As the show started to come to an end with “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, originally by Elton John, the fourth album Cuatro was featured also. “Swatting At Flies” and “Secret Square” were not received as well as the tunes before, but could not cool the audience down too much, so “Iron Tears” kept the crowd boiling. After that the band left the stage only to return for an encore of “I Live You Die”. Unfortunately, that was the last track Flotsam were allowed to play as Sunday was a Catholic holiday, and singer Eric put it like this “Tomorrow is a holy day in Germany and they want us to get the fuck out of here!”.

Keep It True 11 was another great festival continuing the successful series with the proven mix of underground and forgotten, obscure and underrated Metal. Next time it will be in Lauda Königshofen again in April 2009. The show is already sold out for month, but tickets for the 2010th show will become available in April next year, so if you want to witness a true Metal festival with fans from all over the world, it is advisable to try to get one soon. It will surely be sold out again, as the two day events always were so far.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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